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Africa, Forex

South Africa’s rand falls on Fed taper bets; stocks rise

(Updates rand and bonds to reflect afternoon trade, adds stocks)

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 11 (Reuters) – The South African rand weakened against a stronger dollar on Monday as investors remained confident the U.S. Federal Reserve would start tapering its stimulus measures this year and as a local business confidence indicator dipped.

At 1515 GMT, the rand traded at 14.9700 against the dollar, around 0.3% weaker than its previous close.

“The rand … remains vulnerable as the USD remains resilient and the view remains that the Fed is ready to taper asset purchases,” Nedbank analysts said in a note.

The Fed may move to begin reducing its support for the economy next month despite the slowdown in job gains in September.

A South African business confidence index fell to 91.0 in September from 91.9 in August, as retail sales and manufacturing output declined.

The central bank recently said it thought an economic bounce-back from the COVID-19 pandemic was mostly done.

Later in the week, the domestic focus will turn to August mining and manufacturing numbers due on Tuesday, and retail sales figures on Wednesday.

Stocks listed in Johannesburg gained on Monday in a broad-based rally largely led by the mining sector where both diversified and precious metals miners rose.

The local stock exchange mirrored a global optimism led by gains in China and higher crude oil prices.

The benchmark all-share index was up 1.32% to 66,101 points while the blue-chip index of top 40 companies was up 1.4% to 59,663 points.

The government’s 2030 bond weakened slightly, with the yield up 3 basis points at 9.545%. (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, Alexander Winning and Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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